Monday, May 11, 2009

What's eating my raspberries?

I've been closely monitoring my raspberries this year because every year I get fairly major leaf damage. This year I am determined to beat whatever is eating them. I had assumed that the problem was spider mites. So I dutifully mulched and made sure they got lots of water (not hard since we've had a good amount of rain so far this spring).

But that hasn't seemed to have helped. I went out to check on them tonight and this is an example of what I found:

You can't quite tell from the picture but the damage is 'lace like'. For the most part there are no big chomps out of the leaves like caterpillar damage (which I'm used to - I had to squash countless caterpillars on my gooseberry bushes this weekend). I looked under a lot of the leaves and found some strange fly things that looked like baby mosquitoes. I also found one small brown beetle-like bug that the size of a large pin head.

Any suggestions on what it is or what I can do about it? It hasn't seemed to affect the plants much (they are spreading like crazy), but I think it is affecting my yield.


@mjmclean said...

Rachel -

I've had similar. Could be fungus in which case raising the bed to keep the roots higher helps.

Otherwise - some fungicides are good. I'm hoping there are some organicide equivalents.

I've had plants flourish with that condition as well.

Let me know how they go.


Theresa said...

*sigh* I am of no help. I do hope you are able to figure out what it is and how to remedy it. Do you have a garden centre or a botanical garden nearby whose staff could help identify the culprit(s)?

Anonymous said...

I've seen this before. You have garden trolls. Just get a big goat to keep in the garden and he should chase off the trolls. (Just make sure you keep an eye on the goat. They have a tendency to eat a lot after dispensing with said trolls)

Anonymous said...

If it's only affecting a small area I would physically remove the affected leaves along with any critters riding on them. If you have a small raspberry patch this is manageable and the simplest pest control method- simply remove the culprit. If it's a leaf miner (I can't tell if the top and bottom layer of the leaf is intact?) this is the most effective organic method.

Green Grrl said...

Hey Martha - interesting! I hadn't thought about fungus. Am going to look that up.

Theresa, good suggestion re: garden centre. If they can help me identify the problem, I can find an organic solution. I do have one nearby. Will see if they can help.

LOL Tariq! Don't tempt me re: the goat. One of my fav. bloggers just got a goat. SO cute.

Hi Anonymous, good point. Right now there is probably damage to about 10% of the leaves. Is that too much to pull off? I've not heard of leaf miners before. The damage to my leaves does not normally leave the top and bottom layer intact. Well maybe in the beginning. At first there are these marks on the leaves, then holes that are lace like, then full on holes. Is that the work of a miner? What I find most frustrating is that I never see what's doing this damage. Considering the amount of damage you'd think I'd see them.

My gooseberry bushes are another story - I pulled over 100 caterpillars off them yesterday!

Beth said...

Hi - I know this is an older post, but did you ever find out what/who was eating the leaves? I just made a similar post at NorthParkHomestead and I'm looking for help too. I planted the raspberries this past January, which is bare-root season here in San Diego. They took off really well - I even got a taste of the golden ones. Then this :(

Most of them still look fine, and I'd really like to keep it that way. Any suggestions? Did you try spinosad?

- Beth

Green Grrl said...

Hi Beth,

Turns out the damage was from Japanese beetles. I get them every year but not so badly that my yield is affected or the canes are damaged. I'm lucky. A bad case of japanese beetles can wipe out entire crops! It is possible to buy traps specifically for japanese beetles but I have heard that you can end up attracting more of them to your garden that way. Instead, when I see them I just flick them into a bucket and then drown or squish them.

Beth said...

Well, we certainly have beetles around... there's a fig tree right above the raspberry patch and in the mornings you can find many beetles shoulder deep in the ripe figs. But I think ours are these: - which seem to be more of a problem for the fruit than the leaves.

The chickens are my solution to the beetles. They love eating both the beetles (although they're a little more challenging than some bugs) and their grubs.